Issue #23:October 24, 2023
Between October 12, (Thursday) 2023 and October 18 (Wednesday) 2023, TLC participated in the Morocco Rally 2023 which was held in Morocco on the African continent. The rally also served as a real-world test for the team, and the performance of the rally-spec vehicle, which is based on the Land Cruiser 300 GR SPORT and developed for the upcoming Dakar Rally, was confirmed.
This year’s Morocco Rally started in the southwestern city of Agadir on October 14. The rally consisted of five stages, covering a total distance of approximately 2,240 km, passing through Zagora in the southeast of the country. The team took on the rally with Miura/Barbet in car #250, and Basso/Polato in car #251.
On the first day of the rally, there were some issues with the steering system’s hydraulics in car #250 during the first stage. They were forced to drive the last 70 km of the stage without hydraulic assist, resulting in heavy steering. In addition, the minimum ground clearance of production vehicles is lower than modified cars, so the underside took some hits on the extremely rough surface in this rally. In both cars, this also led to some damage on the rear differential, but they were able to reach the finish while assisting each other along the way. The mechanics had a heavy workload on their hands from day one, but their efforts in maintenance and setup were rewarded. From the second stage onward, despite some punctures and occasionally getting stuck, the rally went smoothly until the final stage.
The SS on the final day was relatively short at only 152 km, but it included the most challenging dunes of the rally. Car #250 drove calmly across the dunes at the start of the stage and cleared the crossing without getting stuck. It then dodged many modified-car rivals who had veered off the course, and steadily pushed through, aiming for a finish in the top 30 overall ranking. However, at the 75 km mark they encountered trouble with the drivetrain and were suddenly unable to continue driving. It was difficult to repair the problem on site, so they were forced to retire from the rally. Car #251 was following from behind, and after providing emergency assistance to car #250, returned to the rally and safely reached the finish line, where it came in at 39th place overall.
Chief mechanic and engineer Philippe Challoy commented, “The drivetrain issue faced by car #250 on the final day was unexpected, and our top priority is to resolve it before the Dakar Rally. Once the car arrives at the garage, we’ll do our best to investigate the cause and incorporate the necessary improvements. Of course, we are disappointed that we had to retire, but we will do our best so that we can look back on this day and say that it was necessary in order to win the Dakar Rally.”
As we head towards the 2024 Dakar Rally, we will continue to develop and improve our rally cars to clear all stages and win our 11th consecutive victory in the production car category. As always, the team welcomes and sincerely appreciates your support.